Sunday, December 23, 2018

Interview: RealBreakingNate @ Wizard World Madison 2018

At Wizard World Madison 2018, I had an opportunity to interview RealBreakingNate, a well-known Pokemon YouTuber. We talk about how he got started doing videos, and some of the panels he ran at the convention:

A press pass was provided for this event.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Musician Interview: Charity Goodin ("The Power Of Us" co-performer)

Charity Goodin
The following in an interview with Charity Goodin, co-performer of “The Power Of Us”, the ending theme of the recently released Pokémon movie of the same name.

Where are you from, and how did you get into doing music?

I’m originally from Maryland-just outside of Washington D.C..

Growing up, our home was filled with music. My mother took my sister and me to church to join the choir at five years old. Even at that young age, I enjoyed being able to create the perfect sound I wanted for the lyrics and songs I was singing. I started playing clubs long before I was old enough to be a customer. It was a bit odd at times-when I was in a rock band, I would sit in the car before we went on stage, sing, and then go sit in the car so as not to draw too much attention to myself. Other memorable performances include fronting a Yugoslavian Tamburitza Orchestra (singing in Serbo-Croatian), working with swing and big bands, singing in church choirs in various parts of the country, and now there’s a great group of jazz musicians I perform with called Del Sol. It was through our jazz gigs that I met Ed Goldfarb, the composer and songwriter for Pokémon.

What was your experience with Pokémon before working on "The Power Of Us"?

Most of what I knew came from my son, who was born in 1991. He and his friends would speak in the Pokémon voices and sing the theme songs. That’s really about it.

How did you wind up singing on it? 

Ed and I performed some jazz gigs together, and he asked if I’d like to do some holiday recordings for a CD he wrote and produced. Later, he asked me to sing for a Pokémon demo he was working on, which became the S21 theme song, “Under the Alolan Moon”.

I was thrilled to work with Ed. He is an amazing composer. The harmonies, the complex structures of the pieces are a bit deceptive to the listener. They are so easy to get into your head that you don’t realize the brilliant work that took place.

What was the recording process like?

The recording was detailed and meticulous, and for me, fun. I sang all the parts of the harmony, quite a few times to get the desired effect of a choir. Ed was masterful at getting what he wanted for the vocal sound from me. I think the end result is great.

Is there a particular part of the song you wanted to call out?

I love those harmonies and the hook of the song. The lyrics are very uplifting and positive.

What other musical work have you done recently?

Right now I am getting ready for a couple of Holiday shows. One at the Deerfield Winery Caves in Sonoma and I’m one of the featured soloists for the Santa Rosa Symphony Holiday Pops concert. Amongst other classic holiday songs, I’ll finally be performing “Let It Go” from Disney’s Frozen. I say “finally” because since the movie came out, every time I performed at a wedding or event where children were present, they would ask if I’d sing that song. It was very sweet, but a jazz quartet doesn’t usually have that in the repertoire. Aside from that, I’ve been in a writing/recording collaboration with Rob Fordyce (the bassist from my jazz group), and Jimmy Hobson (a recording engineer at Marinwest Studios).

What's your website, and where can you be found on social media?

My website is, and you can also find me on Facebook.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Poke Press Digest Podcast: Episode 22-Erica Schroeder/Victini Movie(s) Music

For the first segment (0:55-7:16), I interview Erica Schroeder, a long-time voice actor for the Pokemon dub. We talk about how she got into the anime, her work as the singing voice of Meloetta, and her roles in the recently released movie "Pokemon: The Power of Us".

The second segment (7:23-56:25) covers the music of the 14th Pokemon movies-and no, that isn't a mistake. Anne from Pikapi Podcast helps me sort out the extra-large amount of material we had to cover this time around. Listen to find out if two songs from Every Little Thing or the two versions of "Follow Your Star" come out on top.


Segment 1:
Erica's Website
Wizard World* Website

*A press pass was provided for this event.

Segment 2:
Pikapi Podcast
Alex Nackman Interview
Kathryn Raio Interview

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Discussion: The Music of "Pokemon the Movie Black/White" (Part 1)

In an unusual move, there are actually two 14th Pokemon movies, each with a different ending theme, as well as score. Listen as Anne from Pikapi Podcast and I discuss the Japanese and English end themes of these films, and other musical aspects. Does"The Sky/The Voice" top two versions of "Follow Your Star"? Here's the first part:

If you need something to tide you over a bit longer, here's a recap of last weekend's Wizard World event in Madison:

The livestream includes me unpacking a Pokemon-themed mystery box, so be sure to check it out!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Got any opinions on the music of the Keldeo movie?

Not long from now, Anne from Pikapi Podcast and I will be sitting down to discuss the music of the 15th Pokemon movie, "Kyurem Vs. the Sword of Justice ", otherwise known as the Keldeo movie. We'll be comparing "Memories" by Rola and "It's All Inside Of You" by Jess Turner, the Japanese and English ending themes (respectively) of the movie. We'll also be discussing the score and other musical elements:

If you have an opinions, feel free to share them with a comment on this post!

Monday, November 19, 2018

Psy, Yai, Yai (Parody of "Bye, Bye, Bye" by N'Sync)

The (arguably) best comic relief Pokemon gets his own song in this latest parody, which takes 2000's "Bye, Bye, Bye" and flips it on its head (perhaps Psyduck can relate) to deliver a moving story:


So, background on this one. I originally wrote this in 2008-I’m not sure what prompted it specifically. I heard the original back in 2000, of course (imagine if Weird Al had done something like this for Pokémon 2000!). Obviously the idea was to capture the mixed feelings Misty had for her Psyduck in the lyrics, covering the inconvenience/embarrassment side but transitioning to a more positive tone by the end as she actively defends Psyduck. Of course, this turns the original song on its head, which is something I enjoy doing in my parodies.

I picked to have this recorded now mainly to time up with the release of “Let’s Go”. It was a bit more challenging than previous times because I hired different people to do the instruments and the vocals, giving me my first real experience mixing a music track, which I think turned out relatively well.

One interesting production tidbit-the Psyduck sounds were originally intended to sound as close as possible to the echoing “byes” in the original, but what we wound up with actually sounds more interesting to me as it sounds as if Psyduck doesn’t understand what he should be doing in what is ostensibly his own song. It also keeps the song a bit fresher throughout.

Tom Bedlam

Friday, November 09, 2018

Poke Press Digest Podcast: Episode 21-"How to End a Pokemon Movie (Musically)" (Anime Banzai 2018)

For this single segment episode, we have a panel that was recorded at last month's Anime Banzai in Utah. Listen as Anne from Pikapi Podcast and I share what we've learned from discussing Pokémon music, followed by a few questions from the audience:


Pikapi Podcast
Anime Banzai
Recap Video

Friday, November 02, 2018

How to End a Pokemon (Musically) (Part 1)

At this year's Anime Banzai in Utah, Anne and I held a panel talking about what we learned so far discussing the ending themes of the Pokemon movies. In this first part, Anne and I share our backgrounds and how and why the discussion series got started:

Friday, October 05, 2018

Poke Press Digest Podcast: Episode 20-European Pokemon Music/More Shorts

This installment has two segments. First (0:46-38:39), Anne from Pikapi Podcast and I discuss a variety of Pokémon music that originated in Europe. Our choices include songs from the German version of the second movie and openings of the Italian dub.

The second segment (38:47-44:15) is a pair of short pieces-one where I compare the music of Octopath Traveler to Shinji Miyazaki’s work on the Pokémon Anime, and another where I announce an appearance at the upcoming Anime Banzai in Utah.


Segment 1:
Pikapi Podcast

Segment 2:
Anime Banzai

Thursday, October 04, 2018

Discussion: European Pokemon Music (Part 1)

In a break between the fourth and fifth generations of Pokemon movies, Anne and I held a discussion of European Pokemon music. In this first segment, we discuss "Du Bist Nicht Allein", and the movie version of "Pokemon Welt", both from the German version of the second Pokemon movie:

Monday, September 10, 2018

Does Octopath Traveler have "better Shinji Miyazaki Music"?

I recently completed the main stories of Octopath Traveler, and noticed a loose similarity to some other music I'm quite familiar with. Is there some connection between the music of this game and Shinji Miyazaki's work on the Pokemon anime?

Sunday, September 02, 2018

Poke Press Digest Podcast: Episode 19-Zoroark Movie Music

In this single-segment episode, Anne from Pikapi Podcast drops by to help cover the music of the 13th Pokémon movie, "Zoroark: Master of Illusions". Sukima Switch and Erin Bowman go head-to-head this time around, though there may be another entrant that comes in later. Also, it seems Anne had a somewhat different opinion of the movie than I did, so stay tuned after the outro:

Pikapi Podcast
Erin Bowman Interview

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Unboxing music from the 21st Pokemon movie

The latest Pokemon movie released in Japan last month, and with it came two music releases, one of the score, and one of the ending theme. We recently had an opportunity to open both to see what comes with them:

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Discussion: The music of "Zoroark: Master of Illusions" (Part 1)

Anne from Pikapi Podcast drops by once again, this time to help me discuss the music of the 13th Pokemon movie, "Zoroark: Master of Illusions". This movie's end credits feature Sukima Switch's "Ice Cream Syndrome" on the Japanese side, and Erin Bowman's "I Believe In You" in the English version. While tonally similar, they definitely approach the movie's subject matter from different angles:

Monday, July 23, 2018

Unboxing The "Johto Legends" 2 LP Set

It took a while, but the 2 LP set of the "Johto Legends" collection from Braxton Burks has finally come in. Watch and find out what items come in this Materia Collective-distributed package:

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Pokemon North American International Championship 2018: Pokkén Tournament DX Masters Winner Interview

Jacob Waller
The following is an interview with Jacob “ThankSwalot” Waller, winner of the Pokkén Tournament DX competition in the Masters division at this year’s Pokémon North American International Championships in Columbus, Ohio.

Where are you from, and how did you get into Pokémon?

I’m from Oak Forest, Illinois. I have played Pokémon since I was around six, with my first game being Emerald. Ever since then I’ve been a huge fan, getting every main game in the series and a ton of the spin-off games.

How did you get into competitive Pokkén?

I used to play VGC, but as the years went by, I lost interest due to how the metagame wasn’t as diverse anymore. I feel that nowadays, it revolves around finding a “perfect” team that everybody uses, such as CHALK. I liked watching the people who could do well with unique teams, but I started playing badly when I attempted to do the same. Then, Pokkén Tournament was announced. I hadn’t played any fighting games before besides Smash Bros., but I was still interested in maybe switching from VGC to this. What convinced me to buy the game and play it competitively though, was when Sceptile was announced to be playable.

Speaking of which, you mostly played as Sceptile-what attracted you to that character?

Sceptile has always been my favorite Pokémon. It was my first Pokémon, so I’ve always had a special connection with it. No matter what, I was determined to get good with the character, and luckily, it was a cool “ninja” with a moveset that I liked and enjoyed playing with. What got me interested in it the most though was his mobility. I like playing mind games with my opponents, and Sceptile has a ton of cancelable moves and movement options to make that work out fantastically. My favorite move in the main games is Leaf Blade (largely because it was Sceptile’s signature move), so seeing it do it also made me fanboy out a bit.

Which other characters do you use?

While it might not be the strongest character in the game, I’m well known for having a good Empoleon. Like Sceptile, it has a lot of movement options due to it sliding across the stage. Also, Empoleon was my starter of choice in Diamond, which I played just as much as Emerald when I was young. I’ve realized I can only play my absolute best when the character I play as is one of my favorite Pokémon and has a moveset I enjoy, and Empoleon fit both of those. Machamp also fits that description, and it does well against Aegislash, a character I’ve lost to a lot. I've only picked Machamp up recently, but I still think I’m pretty decent with it.

What was your strategy during the finals?

I knew for a fact Rokso was going to go with Gengar during game one. He was probably thinking I’d use Empoleon, similar to what we did at NEC 18, but I was “in it to win it” so I stuck to my best character. For his Gengar, I wanted to rush in to beat it as fast as I can, but that can be hard since Gengar is a tricky character. My traps (Leech Seed, Bullet Seed, etc.) definitely helped me make Rokso land where I wanted to and corner him, netting me the first game. After that, he switched to Garchomp, and for that character, I mixed up rushing in on him with making him come to me, setting traps depending on the situation. I had to get into his head much more here because Garchomp can basically erase half my health with one combo if I guessed wrong.

Are you worried that the upcoming "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate" will take attention away from Pokkén?

Not at all. With Smash being on the Switch now, that just means we will have more consoles to work with (Pokkén always required two Switch units to work at its best), so I welcome Smash entirely. However, I am worried because sometimes the Smash community can be harsh on any Nintendo fighting game that isn’t Smash itself. I don’t get why-most of them probably haven’t tried the game, but I’m not about to bad mouth them. I just think it’s unnecessary to insult a game that won’t be affecting your competitive scene in the slightest.

What would you like to see next from Pokkén?

I’d like to see even more fighters and supports obviously. We don’t have a Normal or Rock-type fighter Pokémon, and I always say for those types I’d like Lopunny and Rhyperior. It’d also be cool to have another surprise pick, kind of like Chandelure. I like the game the way it is, so besides balance patches, I just want to see more characters.

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Poke Press Digest Podcast: Episode 18-Simon Loveridge/Arceus Movie Music

In the first segment (0:51-14:24), I interview Simon Loveridge, a UK musician who recently published a metal cover of the S.S. Anne theme from Pokémon Red & Blue. We also discuss his other musical work, and oddly, a bit of Guitar Hero.

For the second segment (14:32-53:55), Anne from Pikapi Podcast drops by to talk about the music from the 12th Pokémon movie, "Arceus and the Jewel of Life", where Shoko Nakagawa's "Antenna Of The Heart" goes up against Chris "Breeze" Barczynski's "If We Only Learn". After that, we talk about the opening themes and score of the film.


Segment 1:
S.S. Anne Cover
Goldeneye Frigate Cover
Super Mario Galaxy Gusty Garden Galaxy Cover

Segment 2:
Pikapi Podcast
Chris "Breeze" Barczynski Interview
Chris "Breeze" Barczynski Website

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Poke Press Digest Podcast: Episode 17-The Music of "Pokemon: I Choose You!"

In this single-segment episode, Anne from Pikapi Podcast and I talk about the music from the 20th Pokémon movie, "I Choose You". Our discussion covers the ending themes, openings, and the score. As usual, we also read a few listener comments.


Pikapi Podcast
Pokemon Movie Music Collection
"Future" by Beverly
The Soundtrack Show

Monday, May 14, 2018

Discussion: The music of "Pokemon: I Choose You!" (Part 1)

Anne from Pikapi Podcast and I jump forward to the 20th Pokemon movie and discuss its music. In particular, we compare "Let's Walk Together" by Asuca Hayashi and "I Choose You" by Haven Paschall, the end themes of the Japanese and US versions of the movie (respectively). These songs have some similarities, but also some distinct differences:

Monday, May 07, 2018

Unboxing the "Future Connection" CD/DVD combo single

The latest Pokemon single, "Future Connection" recently came out in Japan. The single isn't as elaborate as "Alola", but still contains some goodies worth looking at:

Monday, April 30, 2018

Is music commentary not accessible enough?

While watching a recent video about a lack of polished content in the speedrunning community, I came to realize that some of the same problems it described might apply to music as well. Namely, that there's not enough material that attempts to explain what makes it work without requiring significant musical training. Is there something we can do about that?

Monday, April 16, 2018

A trio of Mew-related videos

In honor of Mew finally being made available in Pokemon Go, I've dug up one of my old parodies and had it recorded by Tom Bedlam. The result is "Mew Sensation", a take on "New Sensation" by Australian rock group INXS:

If you'd like to know more about this song, you can take a look here:

If that's still not enough for you, I also recently unboxed "The Birth Of Mewtwo" radio drama CD from Japan:

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Poke Press Digest Podcast: Episode 16-Kids' WB Bumpers/Sky Warrior Music

In the first segment (0:51-12:40), I talk to Brian Oliver, who produced bumpers for Kids' WB back in the day. Listen to find out what the process of creating these promos was like, and what he’s doing now.

Our second segment (12:49-50:16) is a discussion of the music of the 11th Pokémon movie, "Giratina and the Sky Warrior". Anne from Pikapi Podcast helps me match up Crystal Kay's "ONE" to Aaron Brotherton's "This Is A Beautiful World". As usual, we also give our take on the other music from the movie:


Segment 1:
Master Pokemon

Segment 2:
Pikapi Podcast

Monday, March 26, 2018

Discussion: The Music of "Giratina and the Sky Warrior" (Part 1)

The 11th Pokemon movie, "Giratina and the Sky Warrior" introduces us to the mythical Pokemon Shaymin. In this discussion, Anne from Pikapi Podcast and I discuss the music of the film, focusing  on "ONE" by Crystal Kay and "This Is A Beautiful World" by Aaron Brotherton. These two lyrical takes on the film offer somewhat different perspectives, which may be appropriate given one the characters. Find out more about each of these songs in the first part of our discussion:

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Interview: Brian Oliver (Director of Animation-Kids' WB)

I recently had an opportunity to interview Brian Oliver, who was the director of animation at Kids' WB back in the late 90's and early 2000's. Brian fills us in on many of the details of how the bumpers and promos were made for the network, as well as many of the people he had the opportunity to work with. We also cover "Master Pokemon", a music video that involved a large amount of production work on Brian's part:

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Poke Press Digest Podcast: Episode 15-The Music of "The Rise of Darkrai"/Ultra Prism Prerelease

In the first part of this episode (0:55-1:02:19), Anne from Pikapi Podcast and I share our thoughts on the music of the tenth Pokémon movie, The Rise of Darkrai. In an unusual twist, this film features English songs in both the US and Japanese versions. Listen to our discussion to find out whether Sarah Brightman’s “I Will Be With You” or Kirsten Price’s “I’ll Always Remember You” comes out on top.

The second segment (1:02:28-1:05:13) is a player interview from a recent Pokémon TCG League Challenge and Prerelease. We talk about what deck the player used, and some of the cards from the recently released Ultra Prism set.


Segment 1:
Pikapi Podcast

Monday, February 12, 2018

Discussion: "The Rise of Darkrai" Ending Themes (Part 1)

The Japanese and English ending themes of the tenth Pokemon movie, "The Rise of Darkrai" go head-to-head in this comparison, featuring Anne from Pikapi Podcast. Sarah Brightman's "I Will Be With You (Where The Lost Ones Go)" and Kirsten Price's "I'll Always Remember You" took rather different routes to become associated with this film, but Anne and I do our best to compare them:

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Why you won't be seeing a remastered Kirsten Price interview here (for now) + new digest episode

I've wanted to fix up this early interview for a long time, but unfortunately there are some technical obstacles in the way:

On the bright side, if you've missed any of our recent content, here's a new episode of the digest podcast:

In our first segment (0:47-43:15), Anne from Pikapi Podcast drops by to help discuss some underrated Pokémon songs. In addition to sharing our own picks, we also read some viewer submissions.

Our second segment (43:24-53:14) is a series of short pieces where I talk about various aspects of the Pokémon franchise. You’ll hear me discuss what might be in a future Pokémon Pinball, compare Mario Odyssey to PokePark, and critique some anime characters.


Segment 1:
Pikapi Podcast
Master Pokemon

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Discussion: Underrated Pokemon Songs

Anne from Pikapi Podcast helps me discuss several Pokemon songs we feel haven't gotten the attention they deserve. In this first part, we go over:

-Because Everyone Was There (from Revelation Lugia)
-We're A Miracle (from Pokemon: The First Movie)
-Never Too Far From Home (from Totally Pokemon)
-Master Pokemon (Shown before Pokemon 4Ever and on Kids' WB)

Listen and find out what we have to say about these less-famous Pokemon songs:

Our discussion of underrated Pokemon music continues with "Because There Is The Sky" and the Italian Pokemon Chronicles theme. We also go over a few great viewer comments:

Also, what would our discussion be without a side conversation?